The Influence of Gaming Expenditure on Crime Rates in South Australia: A Local Area Empirical Investigation

  • Sarah Ann Wheeler
  • David K. Round
  • Rick Sarre
  • Michael O’Neil
Original Paper


Although there has been much speculation about the possible links between gambling and crime rates, relevant quantitative evidence has been practically non-existent in Australia to date. This paper reports the results of research that utilised a model designed to investigate the potential relationship between electronic gaming machine expenditures and property (income-generating) crime rates reported to police in local areas in South Australia in 2002–2003. The research found that the higher the expenditures on gaming machines in a particular local area per adult, the higher the income-generating crime rate in that area. No such relationship was found between gaming machine expenditure and non-income-generating crime rates. However, further research is required before any policy-relevant conclusions can be drawn.


Gaming machine expenditure Income-generating crime Local areas 



The helpful comments of an anonymous reviewer and the assistance of Anthony Kosturjak in the collection of statistics for this study are gratefully acknowledged. Initial analysis on this topic was made possible via a grant from South Australia’s Independent Gambling Authority.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Ann Wheeler
    • 1
  • David K. Round
    • 1
  • Rick Sarre
    • 1
  • Michael O’Neil
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Regulation and Market Analysis, School of CommerceUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.South Australian Centre for Economic StudiesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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